Location is everything. Phil and Kirsty know what they’re talking about. When we booked our mini break in Madrid (sorry, but I can never write ‘mini break’ without thinking of Bridget Jones) we were wowed by the star rating, roof top bar, architect designed rooms and the possibility of free chocolates. And where did such a vanity booking get us? In the arse end of town. READ MORE
This recipe is my suggestion to you for Christmas eve. I am not for a moment suggesting you grill and peel and stir away on the night itself. Instead make it this weekend right up to the point of assembly. Then freeze it. You can bake from frozen on Christmas eve, covered with foil and for an extra 40 minutes than the recipe below. I know, I know, there’s no need to thank me.
Okay, if you want to thank me, and you have my book, perhaps you’ll consider leaving me a review? You don’t have to have bought from Amazon to review on there but it really helps with boring things like how much it pops up in folk’s email suggestions.
If this recipe isn’t doing it for you when it comes to Christmas Eve inspiration then take a look on the pinterest board I’ve put together using ideas Facebook likers suggested for the last supper before Father Christmas visits.
FYI: I used a large roasting tin to cook my lasagne in, measuring 26 x 20 x 7cm. You can make this in stages by grilling the sausages the day before as well as roasting the vegetables if it makes life a little easier.
Triple S lasagne
Grill the sausages until browned and cooked through on all sides, this takes about 15 minutes. Leave them to cool then slice lengthways into three long strips.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Put the squash and onion into a roasting tin and drizzle with oil. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes until cooked through and browned, then add the chopped tomatoes and roast for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool a little before mashing a little to break up the squash pieces. Don’t be too thorough though as you don’t want a pureé.
Make the béchamel by melting the butter with the sage leaves in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the flour and pepper and whisk together until a smooth paste forms. Cook the flour off for 1 minute then turn the heat to low and add a little of the milk. Whisk well, then add some more before whisking again and so on, until you’ve added all the milk and the sauce is thick and smooth. Remove from the heat.
Assemble the lasagne by placing half the sausage slices in the bottom of the roasting tray, covering with half of the squash sauce. Add a layer of lasagne (3 sheets) and then half the béchamel sauce. Cover with another layer of lasagne sheets, followed by the rest of the sausages and the remainder of the squash sauce. Lay over the final sheets of lasagne and cover completely with the remaining béchamel. Sprinkle with parmesan and bake for 35–45 minutes or until a knife slips through the pasta easily. Serve with a green salad.
Ideas for using up fresh sage: Use a couple of leaves along with a lemon to stuff a chicken for an aromatic and homely roast. Fry leaves in butter and serve simply over cooked pasta with a little fresh grated cheese for a supper that is ready in minutes. A rustic beany bake is a welcome winter supper, just add a couple of sage leaves to a can of drained cannellini beans, a tin of chopped tomatoes and a few slices of grilled bacon, bake at 180C/gas mark 4 for 40 minutes and serve with crusty bread.
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Being busy, or rather people who bang on about being busy, is one of my all time pet hates, up there with people who take their eye bagged ridden children food shopping at 10pm and those who moan about not having any money and then go on expensive holidays.
I think the Busy People think that by wearing this verbal busy badge of honour they sound important, like a latter day version of a business lady from Working Girl who walks to work in her trainers to save time. Well, it doesn’t make me think you’re busy. It makes me think you should be quiet and get on with your busy list of things to do.
Maybe I am just jealous. I used to be a Very Busy Person when I had a proper office job with a time you had to arrive at and a pension plan and private health. Now I have a scrap of paper with a list of things that need doing on it. Some have been on the list for over 5 years. Tirelessly re-written when a new scrap of paper beckons.
At this very moment, a quick glance tells me I need to do some filing (yawn), contact a solicitor about writing a new will (or if I do pop off then my double bed and a silver necklace are going to arrive on an ex boyfriends doorstep in Manchester… not sure his wife would be keen on that or my bedless grief stricken husband come to think of it), sort out passports for both sons (form filling, arghhh no, surely I need to do something more pressing like check Facebook or read the Daily Mail comments on a celebrity story) and eBay a DVF dress I bought 3 years ago and have never worn as it makes me look, quite frankly, hideous. Designer clothes do not magic away hips. Wrap dresses are for my skinny snake hipped sisters.
So maybe I’m not busy with the important things that Busy People are busy with, but I am busy playing Lego, building train tracks, reading stories, helping little boys peel carrots and mix Yorkshire pudding batter and of course I am busy pushing swings. That’s a very busy job indeed, for very Busy People.
This is a recipe for Busy People. I managed to whizz this up whilst playing train tracks intermittently.
Butternut squash, chorizo and harissa soup
Enough for 2 very large dinner type portions or 4 smaller ones
Pop the oven on to the highest setting and roast the butternut squash pieces and the onions in a roasting tin coated in 2 tbsp of the oil until browned and a knife slips through the squash easily, took about 20 minutes in my oven. Then pop into a large saucepan. In the meantime fry the skinless slices of chorizo until browned. (Can be easier to remove the skin once cooked, up to you… or don’t remove the skin at all! Adds a slightly grainy texture to the final soup though.)
Throw the sausage into the large saucepan with the veggies and add the stock cube and harissa, then pour boiling water over the top until it comes to about an inch above the veggies. Pop onto a low heat to simmer and after 15 minutes blitz with a handheld blender or pop in a regular blender if you prefer. Check for heat (our harissa is homemade by Mr B and is fiery), add a little more harissa if you like and then some black pepper too. Probably won’t need salt as the stock cube provides a fair amount of that. Then add the beans and heat through on the stove for 5 more minutes. Serve with crusty bread and butter.